Trout on poppers
  |  First Published: February 2009

Thankfully summer has finally arrived; better late than never. On the positive side the delay in hot weather meant that our small streams have kept a higher than average flow for this time of year.

This month let’s discuss something different...trout on poppers. Trout are often very spooky and shy, so it stands to reason that trout and poppers don’t usually go together.

Two years ago, small surface poppers went through a phase where they were popular for targeting species such as bream, estuary perch and sand whiting. I too caught the bug; however I wanted to try them on something a bit closer to home. So I thought, why not trout?

Traralgon Creek was my choice of river because it is so close, yet there was a problem in that the creek is often shallow and slow flowing, so the trout can be very spooky, especially in summer. The trout seemed to get spooked by the size of the popper hitting the water, or they would just simply have a look and shy away at the last moment.

I ended up walking upstream until I found a bend in the river that had a bit of faster flowing, shallow rapid. I cast the popper into the slightly turbid water and straight away a small brown trout about 25cm long smashed my popper. This was the best I could manage during my popper experiment in Traralgon Creek.

Little did I know that another angler was perfecting the art of catching trout on surface poppers in small streams. Paul Snell is a local trout fishing guru and he has put many hours into catching trout on poppers in Traralgon Creek. Through trial and error, Paul has worked out the best technique for catching these small spooky fish on surface lures.

It turns out a little bit more water does help, but is not necessary. The more important aspect of this type of fishing is the retrieval technique. As trout are often shy, the conventional short, sharp jerking motion of using poppers to get that classic popping sound is usually too vigorous and scary for shy trout in shallow water.

Instead, Paul uses a very slow steady retrieve to entice the trout to take the lure. This slow and steady pace does not spook the trout with any sudden unexpected movements. He has proven the technique to be very effective and often catches 10 or more trout using these small surface lures. River2Sea 35mm poppers work very well, however any small popper should be effective. Paul as also noted that nearly any colour works – it is just the retrieval technique that is important.

For something different, get some small poppers and try it. It is a very enjoyable form of fishing.

For more information, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 5174 8544.

Paul Snell holds up one of many brown trout he has caught on small surface poppers. This popper is 35mm long, which is the ideal size for small trout in small water.

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